Vol. 3, No. 1


U.S. Federation of Friends of Museums

1050 Connecticut Avenue, N. W., Suite 1200, Washington, D.C. 20036-5137 •

Board of Trustees

Murray R. Tarnapoll, President

Meredith C. Boren, Vice President

Robert W. Sharp, Treasurer

John W. Barnum

Nancy G. Barnum

Enid G. Hyde

Sheila B. McGinity

Pamela R. Peabody

Susanna T. Saunders

Mary Naquin Sharp, USFFM Founder

Stuart L. Yunis, M.D.

Betty G. Zucker

Alison Y. Sharp, Secretary

Constance Pirtle, Liaison with the AAMV

The USFFM was founded in 1989 as the U.S. member of the World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM). Its purpose is to encourage volunteer efforts for museums, to facilitate an exchange of information among Friends organizations both nationally and internationally, and to promote the role of museums in cultural preservation.


Introducing Danny Ben-Natan New President of WFFM

Daniel Ben-Natan, new President of the World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM), who was elected at the Glasgow Council Meeting in May 2009, has stated “We (the Board) will endeavor to significantly increase the visibility, outreach and relevance of the WFFM while strengthening communication within the Federation. We will try to establish a reservoir of expertise, knowledge and information to better serve our membership and museum Friends and volunteers throughout the world and especially in communities only recently becoming aware of the important role we play in support of our museums and the museums’ principal role in the cultural fabric of our countries.”

Danny, who was formerly Treasurer of WFFM, has been Vice President for Development and International Relations of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, since 1996. Before joining the Israel Museum, Danny was the Director of the once-in–a-decade National Census in Israel, working out of the Central Bureau of Statistics of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Earlier in his career, Danny held senior positions in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, including Assistant to the President, National Executive Director of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University (Montreal), Associate Dean of the Faculty and other distinguished positions.

In addition to his role with the WFFM, Danny is President of the Israel Association for Canadian Studies, has served as President of the International Council for Canadian Studies in Ottawa and is on the Board of a number of non-profit organizations in Israel. ]

Outgoing President Carla Bossi-Comelli and newly-elected President Danny Ben-Natan at the Glasgow Council Meeting.

Tribute To Carla Bossi-Comelli

From 1992, when Carla Bossi-Comelli was elected Secretary General of the World Federation of Friends of Museums (WFFM), until 2009, when she finished her third three-year term as the organization’s President, Carla was the engine that powered the WFFM to a series of extraordinary events. From the Congress in her native Buenos Aires in 2002 to the Seville Congress in 2005 and the Congress in Jerusalem in 2008, Carla was our own “Iron Lady”— an indefatigable leader, always running full speed ahead. She refined the organization of the WFFM and inspired new initiatives, generously making it possible for young people to participate in its meetings with scholarships in the name of her husband who died early in her presidency, and reaching out to sister

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organizations around the world such as the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the American Association of Museums (AAM).

Carla was born in Italy, but grew up in Argentina. After she graduated from the National University of Buenos Aires in 1967 with a degree in economics, she pursued studies in sociology there and later studied anthropology in Mexico City. In 1991 she obtained a postgraduate degree in museology, also in Mexico City, where she was a founder of the Mexican Federation of Friends and where she lived until her husband died.

Among many honors that Carla has received, notable are the two from the French government: Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres and Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres.

Now Carla has “retired” to Milan, but she keeps her apartment in New York where for years she has been on the Board of the Manhattan School of Music and the International Council of the Metropolitan Opera.

We are counting on Carla’s continuing expertise and support in the years to come. We are delighted that she will be with us at the Council Meeting in Lisbon in May 2010 and in Genoa in 2011 when the Italian Federation is hosting the next Congress in her honor. Indeed, we all honor Carla for the enormous contributions she has made to the world of museum Friends and to the WFFM in particular. ]

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Carla Bossi-Comelli receiving a commemorative silver box on her retirement.

Highlighting our Trustees

Robert W. Sharp

Robert W. Sharp, USFFM Board member since 1979 and longtime Treasurer, lives in Baltimore, where he has been active in the museum world for nearly 30 years.

Mr. Sharp graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and continued with postgraduate studies in Welding Engineering at Ohio State University. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where his skills and training were put to use supervising the building of LSTs in Evansville, Indiana and destroyers and other naval vessels in Seattle, Washington.

After World War II, through his affiliation with the Lincoln Electric Co., he opened offices in Indianapolis, Washington and Baltimore. Living on Gibson Island, Md., he became President of the Gibson Island Club and Commodore of the Yacht Squadron.

After marrying Mary Naquin, founder of the AAMV and USFFM, Sharp entered the world of museum volunteerism. He became president of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Friends of the American Wing and then Chairman of the Council composed of the officers of each of the museum’s volunteer organizations.

USFFM is extremely grateful to Robert Sharp for his long and productive years of service. ]

USFFM Welcomes New Board Member

Dr. Stuart L. Yunis

Dr. Stuart L. Yunis of Lake Success, N.Y. has been elected to the Board of Trustees of USFFM. Dr.Yunis was educated at Dartmouth College and at S.U.N.Y. College of Medicine at Syracuse, N.Y. Specializing in Nephrology, Dr. Yunis has worked in a number of different hospitals in the Long Island, N.Y. area as Attending Physician-in-Charge, Nephrology, and as a frequent consultant. He also has served for over 12 years as Assistant and Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at S.U.N.Y. College of Medicine at Stony Brook, N.Y. During his years of active practice, Dr. Yunis published many papers on different aspects of his specialty.

Dr. Yunis’ interest in the arts was fostered through long association with the Queens Museum of Art, where his wife has been a Trustee for a number of years. As an art collector, he has concentrated on small pieces of antique art from early civilizations in Egypt, Rome and Greece. The Board of USSM is happy to welcome Dr. Stuart L. Yunis. ]


USFFM Grants for Youth Programs

The USFFM has decided to implement a program to stimulate the interest of young people in their museums and in their cultural heritage through varied educational activities. As the program progresses, an exchange of information will be developed in U.S. museums and internationally with the WFFM.

As the arts curriculum is being cut from local school budgets all over the United States, museums can assume a unique role in our society by providing young people with a creative way of thinking, and bringing families of different cultural and economic backgrounds together. USFFM is committed to assist museums in this endeavor.

Grants of $1,000 each will be available to start this program and can support existing or new educational initiatives for students from K through 12. Grants could be used, for example, to augment after-school programs, to pay for busses to transport children to museums, to foster art programs and to fund art supplies.

The requirements for a museum to participate in the USFFM Grant Program are:

» Operate on annual budget of $3,000.000 or less

» Be a legally organized nonprofit institution, or part of a nonprofit organization or government entity

» Be essentially educational in nature

» Have been open to the public for at least two years

» Be open to the public at least 1,000 hours a year

» Employ at least one paid professional staff member with museum knowledge

» Have a full-time director/manager in charge of day-to-day operations

» Have financial resources sufficient to operate effectively

Museums interested in applying for a USFFM Youth Program Grant should address their requests to USFFM Headquarters, Att: Alison Y. Sharp, Secretary, Suite 1200, 1050 Connecticut Ave, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-5137

As the arts curriculum is being cut from local school budgets all over the United States, museums can assume a unique role in our society by providing young people with a creative way of thinking, and bringing families of different cultural and economic backgrounds together.


The USFFM website is constantly being updated by Vice President Meredith Boren and webmaster Scotty Stevenson of Walking Fossil Studio. Visit us at to find useful information about our latest activities. There are also useful links to our affiliates.

WFFM (World Federation of Friends of Museums)

MTA (Museum Trustee Association)

AAM (American Association of Museums)

AAMV (American Association for Museum Volunteers)




June 18th, 2015 will mark the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Wellington’s victory ended twenty years of conflict at the turn of the 19th century, and heralded more than fifty years of peace and stability in Europe. The battle was the culmination of a costly campaign by the allied armies of Europe to halt Napoleon’s ambition to extend his empire from Spain to Russia, from Scandinavia to the Middle East. Waterloo 200 has been established to coordinate and encourage the organization of commemorative events between 2008 to 2015 in museums, schools, battle sites and communities wherever people want to promote an interest in Napoleonic history. Conferences, exhibitions, re-enactments, renovations of historic sites, publications, musical events, social functions, geneology projects and more will be organized during these bicentennial years. Events to remember the Peninsular War battles in Portugal and Spain have already begun to take place and will continue through 2013. In 2014 and 2015, during the anniversary of the Congress of Vienna, we hope to encourage a festival of music and literature to commemorate the work of delegates to the Congress of Vienna and the people who played a part in redrawing national boundaries after Napoleon’s defeat. We hope that at the same time there will be exhibitions about this period in major museums throughout Europe and re-enactments of the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium and the U.K. Waterloo 200 would welcome any ideas or interest from members of WFFM who would like to support its objectives to coordinate, educate, and renovate areas of interest in this fascinating and crucial period of European history. Do have a look at our website:, and please contact Alice Berkeley at for more information.

WFFM and USFFM Grants and Scholarships

Museum Advocacy Day 2010

For the past two years, the AAM has organized Museum Advocacy Day, during which members and supporters of our U.S. museums, all of which are suffering severely from the economic recession, were urged to attend a day of advocacy training and then visit Capitol Hill to make their case to Congress urging greater federal support for museums. In 2009, over 300 advocates from 43 states and all types of museums brought a unified message to Capitol Hill, meeting with their congressional offices. The 2010 Museum Advocacy Day took place on March 23, 2010 with a large group of participants. The considerable success of these Advocacy Days gives hope for continuing and even greater support from Congress. ]

For many years, through the generosity of former President Carla Bossi-Comelli and Vice President for South America Nelly Arrieta de Blaquier (see photo), many scholarships and grants have been made to young people to attend the Triennial Congresses in various parts of the world—Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, and Seville among others.

USFFM also has given grants to a number of persons who have been able to contribute to the meetings in different ways. A major focus of these grant programs is to expose new people to the world of museum volunteerism and to the work of the WFFM. For example, USFFM was able to give a grant to a young public relations specialist to attend the Congress in Buenos Aires. In addition, a grant was given to a representative from the Vesterheim Norwegian—American Museum in Decorah, Iowa to attend the Council Meeting in Oslo. Additionally, a representative from the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a staff person from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. were both given grants to speak at the Congress in Seville. ]

Principal scholarship leaders—retiring President Carla Bossi-Comelli (left) and Vice President for South America Nelly Arrieta de Blaquier (right)



uBetter our services and increase membership

vPosition WFFM in the center of the museum world

wWork towards better understanding and cooperation between volunteers and professionals


By Nancy Barnum

N: You have had a long and fruitful career in museum work. What has been the most inspiring experience of your professional museum career?

D: In my over 13 years with the Israel Museum, there have been many inspiring experiences. However, I would opt for the World Congress of the WFFM we hosted in Jerusalem in September 2008. This was a coming together of my “hat” as V.P. of the Israel Museum with my WFFM involvement and, as Convener of the Conference, I was able to bring together Friends, volunteers and museum professionals to discuss the relationships between the main “players” in the museum world.

N: After the great success of your “market place debates” at the Jerusalem Congress, what would be some of the new initiatives you might hope to undertake as President of the World Federation?

D: The WFFM is perhaps the best-kept secret in the world. One of my priorities will be to make the WFFM better known to the public and to museums and museum Friends all over the world, so that we can be far more effective in the future in furthering our mandate and goals. We should better service our members—the Associations, Associate and individual members—to take advantage of our accumulated knowledge and expertise and to help museum Friends in the their undertakings on behalf of their museums. Many museum Friends feel isolated and don’t realize they are part of a great “family” of museum Friends and volunteers. Wheels do not have to be re-invented, as many challenges facing Friends have been addressed successfully elsewhere. Knowledge is strength and we will do everything possible to strengthen museum Friends all over the world.

N: Briefly, what do you consider to be the three top priorities for WFFM?

D: 1. To better our service to our members while increasing our membership, especially in world areas where we are under-represented such as Asia, Africa, the Baltic countries and former Soviet Union republics. 2. To position the WFFM in the center of the museum world to ensure that we can more effectively support culture, education and museums in the service of the public. 3. To work towards a better understanding and cooperation between Friends, volunteers, museums and museum professionals.

N: In view of your breathtaking travels around the globe, what is your secret for avoiding jet-lag?

D: In truth, this is a question of survival as I couldn’t survive in the roles I have undertaken if I had jet-lag. I am a very self-disciplined individual who can tell myself not to have jet-lag. The fact that I can sleep anywhere and at any time when I tell myself to do so probably helps too. ]


Transforming Museum Volunteering: A Practical Guide for Engaging 21st Century Volunteers

by Ellen Hirzy

for the American Association for Museum Volunteers (AAMV)

Available from AuthorHouse at $29.95

The AAMV is affiliated with the American Association of Museums, U.S. Federation of Friends of Museums and World Federation of Friends of Museums. For more information about AAMV and also to order copies of book, visit


(left) Civic welcome reception at Glasgow City Chambers; (bottom left) Carolyn Forster, newly-elected Vice President for Africa-Asia-Pacific; (bottom right) newly-elected WFFM Treasurer Murray R. Tarnapoll


2010 — Lisbon

May 20 - 23

2011 — Genoa (in the Fall)

2012 — São Paulo (in the Spring)


WFFM Council Meetings are held yearly in the spring and are hosted by federations in member countries. In May 2009, two USFFM officers, President Murray Tarnapoll and Treasurer Betty Zucker, attended the meetings which were hosted by the British Federation of Friends of Museums (BFFM). USFFM board members Nancy Barnum and John Barnum, who is also WFFM North American Vice President, were also present. The Council was held at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland.

WFFM President Carla Bossi-Comelli, whose retirement became effective after the Glasgow meeting, spoke of her pride in the last Congress held in Jerusalem in 2008. She also expressed her immense satisfaction in the various European Regional Meetings that were held during her tenure. Mrs. Bossi-Comelli also acknowledged a feeling of great achievement in the joint WFFM-ICOM (International Committee for Museums) initiative on sustainable tourism and in the ICOM launch of International Museums Day (May 18, 2009) dedicated to museums and tourism. She commented on the sound financial situation of WFFM and thanked Treasurer Danny Ben-Natan and all of the regional Vice Presidents for their support through the years.

Reports were made by the Vice Presidents for Africa-Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and South America. Danny Ben-Natan was then elected WFFM President by the Council, and Murray R. Tarnapoll was elected Treasurer, each for a term of three years. Carolyn Forster was elected Vice President for Africa-Asia-Pacific. Re-elected to the Council as Vice Presidents for a term of three years were Jean-Michel Raingeard for Europe and John W. Barnum for North America.

The Council praised Mrs. Bossi-Comelli for her outstanding leadership during the last nine years and presented her with a commemorative Mexican silver box engraved with the names of the Council Members who had served with her during her presidency. She received a number of standing ovations.

Reports were then given on the XIII International Congress in Jerusalem, which highlighted the success of the Market Place Debates, and Mrs. Bossi-Comelli noted with pride the participation of many young friends from around the world, thanks to the scholarships funded by Nelly Arrieta de Blaquier, and herself.

The WFFM Council voted to support the Italian Federation’s efforts to collect grants to aid victims of the recent earthquakes in Italy by putting the information on the WFFM website and on all national websites.

A report was given regarding the on-going cooperative initiatives of WFFM and ICOM.

The closing General Assembly, open to all members and guests present in Glasgow, featured reports for the year from all national Presidents.

Activities in Glasgow included a cruise on Loch Lomond, a city tour to see the impressive buildings designed by Charles Rennie MacKintosh, Glasgow’s most celebrated architect, and finally a visit to a brewery. Many of Glasgow’s outstanding museums were also visited by delegates and guests.

The Portuguese Federation will host the next Council Meeting in Lisbon on May 20-23, 2010. In 2011, the XIV Congress will be held in Genoa, Italy. Concerts, tours, pre- and post-Congress trips will be offered to visitors. The 2012 Council Meeting will be held in São Paulo at the invitation of the Brazilian Federation. ]



All members of USFFM and WFFM are encouraged to attend Council Meetings, Regional Meetings and Triennial Congresses. For further information, see or write to Alison Y. Sharp, Secretary USFFM, Suite 1200, 1050 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-5137 (

April 19 - 20, 2010 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

North American Regional Meeting

Representatives from Canada and Mexico as well the USFFM gathered for two days at the offices of McGuireWoods LLP. Panelists from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Air and Space Museum discussed youth programs. Jack Rasmussen, the Director and Curator of the American University Katzen Arts Center, spoke on “The Future of Museums.” Special visits to the National Museum of the American Indian and the Department of State Diplomatic Reception Rooms were scheduled during the two-day conference. A reception in Georgetown at the home of a collector with guests from Washington’s museums and a formal dinner on another evening were part of the program.

May 20 – 23, 2010 | LISBON, PORTUGAL

WFFM Council Meeting and General Assembly Organized by the Portuguese Federation of Friends of Museums—Special visits will be made to the Gulbenkian Museum and to other museums in the area. Trips will also be made to Cascais, Evora, and Sintra.

Fall, 201l | GENOA, ITALY

WFFM Congress XIV

Organized by the Italian Federation of Friends of Museums.

Spring, 2012 | SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL

WFFM Council Meeting and General Assembly

Organized by the Brazilian Federation of Friends of Museums.

May 23 - 26, 2010 | LOS ANGELES

AAM Annual Meeting (See AAM website). Theme: Museums without Borders

Council Meeting at Kelvingrove in Glasgow

WFFM President Visits Seoul, Korea

In the Fall of 2009, WFFM President Danny Ben-Natan attended an international forum in Seoul to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Museum of Korea. The meeting was entitled “The Development Strategy of Museums in the 21st Century and Beyond.” Danny spoke on the topic of “The Friends and Volunteers: Social Contributions and Financial Support for Museums” He emphasized the role of the WFFM in the museum world and the growing importance of Friends and volunteers to museums in the 21st century. Among the other speakers were Alissandra Cummins, President of ICOM, Dr. Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Julian Raby, Director of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Directors of the National Museums of Korea, Japan and China.

With Ms. Cummins, Danny discussed ways of strengthening the relationship between ICOM and WFFM. With many of the museum directors present at the Seoul meeting, Danny also discussed the importance of Friends and WFFM, and asked them to encourage the activities of their Friends Associations where they exist, and to help their museum members establish such groups and join WFFM. ]




USFFM Membership Form

New Members Of WFFM


The Korean Federation of Friends of Museums (KFFM) has applied for membership in WFFM.


The Association de Amigos del Museo Nacional de Colombia has recently joined WFFM as an Associate Member.

News From Other Federations


The British Federation of Friends of Museums (BFFM) reports that at their annual meeting held in York in September 2009, Lord Faulkner of Worcester spoke on the subject of Securing our Heritage for Everyone—the Challenge of Free Admission. He noted that there had been a very significant increase in the numbers of visitors to the national collections since admission fees were dropped in 2001. Lord Faulkner feels that museums are very important during times of recession.


WFFM President Danny Ben-Natan met recently with the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums and discussed ways and means of strengthening the CFFM and its relationship with WFFM.


In mid-November 2009, WFFM President Ben-Natan attended the European Regional Meeting of WFFM held in Hamburg and hosted by the German Federation.






Membership Categories

Museum Associate






Under 36 years of age












Non-Member Contributor please enter amount

Total amount enclosed $____________

The USFFM is an IRC 501(c)(3) charitable organization for U.S. Income tax purposes. Checks should be made payable to USFFM and sent with this form to:


C/O Alison Y. Sharp Suite 1200 1050 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036-5137

USFFM members are invited to become individual members of the World Federation of Friends of Museum (WFFM). In this case, please enclose a separate check for $100 per member payable to WFFM, which is not an IRC 501(c)(3) organization.


Enid G. Hyde, Co-editor

Nancy G. Barnum, Co-editor

Susanna T. Saunders, Contributor